Defending champion Vibian Chepkirui returns to Vienna
Defending champion Vibian Chepkirui will return to the Vienna City Marathon on 24th April. The Kenyan surprised last year in the Austrian capital when she won her debut at the classic distance. Organisers announced some top contenders of the women’s elite field today and there are currently six athletes on the start list who feature personal bests of sub 2:25:00.
Vibian Chepkirui winning in Vienna, Credit: VCM / Jenia Symonds
Adding events at shorter distances around 25,000 runners have so far registered for Austria’s biggest one day sporting event. Online entry for the Vienna City Marathon, which is a World Athletics Marathon Label Road Race, is still possible at: www.vienna-marathon.com
The Vienna City Marathon is among the major spring road races coming back to their original event date. While the race had to be cancelled at short notice in 2020 due to the Corona pandemic it was moved to the autumn season last year and took place in September. The Vienna City Marathon then became the first major marathon worldwide with a strong international elite field and a mass race since the start of the Corona pandemic.
“We are happy that we are now able to return to our traditional spring date. The Vienna City Marathon is a huge motivator for sports and activity in Austria and we recognize great anticipation to our race among the runners,“ said Race Director Wolfgang Konrad. With regard to the women’s elite runners he said: “The quality of the women’s elite field looks very promising and the course record may well be challenged by a group of runners.“
It will be little over seven months ago when Vibian Chepkirui returns to the race where she achieved her biggest career victory so far. Last September she came to Vienna as an underdog and had to cope with travel problems: Flying to Austria via Doha with a group of fellow-Kenyan runners they missed their connecting flight and had to sleep on the floor at Doha airport. In very warm weather conditions Vibian Chepkirui then was the only woman to run under 2:25. The Kenyan took the race with 2:24:29. “Without the heat I would have run at least two minutes faster,“ she said.
In more favourable conditions Vibian Chepkirui might be able to make a significant improvement in her second marathon and could attack the Vienna course record of 2:22:12. One of the challengers of the 27 year-old is Sheila Jerotich. She also took a major international marathon in the 2021 autumn season. The Kenyan won the Istanbul Marathon, coming from behind and producing a stunning finish in 2:24:15. However there are three runners who have faster personal bests than Chepkirui and Jerotich: Juliet Chekwel of Uganda and Ethiopia’s Bontu Bekele took first and second in the Sevilla Marathon in 2020 with 2:23:13 and 2:23:39 respectively. Kenya’s Ruth Chebitok has a personal best of 2:23:29 from Toronto 2018.
Jessica Augusto is the leading European runner on the current start list. The Portuguese, who was sixth in the London Olympic marathon in 2012, features a personal best of 2:24:25 from 2014. Jessica Augusto then took the Hamburg Marathon in 2017 but could not match her best performances recently.
For more information please visit: Vienna-Marathon.com.
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